The sexually inappropriate teacher-pupil relationships censured by the industry body are "just the tip of the iceberg", the Rape Prevention Education (RPE) in New Zealand has said.
RPE director Dr Kim McGregor said the 27 inappropriate relationship cases dealt with by the tribunal since 2005 did not reflect reality.
"These are just the tip of the iceberg, because students have told us they wouldn't feel confident in reporting it, as they worry ranks could close on them, that they wouldn't be believed, and that they could be discredited or stigmatised," Stuff.co.nz quoted McGregor as saying.
McGregor said the organisation's school education programmes revealed professional teacher boundaries were often blurred.
Council director Peter Lind acknowledged the high numbers, but said he was unable to say if it was because of increasing occurrences, more reporting, or a combination of both.
Lind said teacher misconduct cases needed to be dealt with promptly and properly, following school and council procedures.